ARCC Alumni In Focus: Willa Imhoff

Meet ARCC Gap and Summer alumnus Willa! Willa first came to ARCC in 2014 as a student on our Tanzania: Safari and Solar service program. She had such a positive experience with ARCC in East Africa that she decided to take a Gap Semester in Latin America with ARCC  in the Fall of 2015. She hails from Healdsburg, California and is currently attending Colorado College (as a winter start)!

Q: Why did you decide to take a Gap Year?
A: I decided to take a gap semester because I am very passionate about traveling, and I was young for my grade. I was in no rush to start college, and knew that having a semester to see the world and experience different cultures, regions, and people could only benefit me and put me in a better place to start school.

Q: What’s your favorite memory from your Gap Semester?
A: My favorite ARCC memory was our three day homestay in a rural community of The Amazon in Ecuador. It was a huge culture shock and I saw a way of life that I had never encountered before. I got to see what regular day life is like for a cocoa farmer and learned a lot about their culture. There was so much to experience there: we helped plant yucca, cut back brush with machetes, canoed down the Amazon in a rustic canoe, played with children, bathed in the river, ate beetle larvae, fished for piraña, and learned how to prepare chocolate. Of course, there were challenges during these days, but the experience was out of this world and I learned so much.

Q: How your ARCC Gap Semester experience inspired you?
A: My ARCC experience inspired me to travel more and to take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way.

Q: What advice would you give to students considering a Gap Year?
A: My advice to future students would be to travel with an open mind, adventurous spirit, and to not be afraid to try new things. The world is filled with so many amazing opportunities, and if you are lucky enough to be on an ARCC trip, you will learn so much about the world and yourself.

Q: Why did you choose to take your gap semester with ARCC?
A: I chose ARCC because I had gone on a Summer trip with them the year before, and had loved every second of the trip. I knew that ARCC had decades of experience and did an amazing job with itineraries, activities, focus of studies, and choosing leaders as well as students.

Q: How did your instructors inspire you?
My instructors inspired me to do what I love and to always have a good attitude in life. To be kind to everyone and to not be afraid to apply myself in the world.


Are you an ARCC Summer or Gap Alumni who wants to share your story? Let us know by emailing us at Discover all of our Gap Programs and Summer Trips by visiting our website at